I’m still writing my new novel “Sara Beth and The Magic Nails” and now I’m going to continue sharing my process with you.
You’ve met four characters so far: best friends Cassandra “Casey” Goldstein and Evan Jones, quirky Torrence Adler and activist Elizabeth “Liza” Hoffman. Now it’s time to meet two other main characters: Irina Zelyaeva and the title character: Sara Beth Blank. Who are these two women?
Irina Zelyaeva was a former model in her twenties, and now in her late thirties, she still retains the stick-thin body and the beautiful face – now with dark circles under her eyes from years of sleep deprivation and faded lines around her full mouth. Irina Zelyaeva had lived in New York since she was discovered by a modeling agency at the young age of 15, and subsequently left her native Russia for a chance in the big city.
Irina was one of those models that fell into the stereotype of growing up way too fast; she was familiar with alcohol way before it was legal for her to drink and had learned to snort coke when she was just 17. She quit the modeling world 10 years after her first big break, because in the modeling world, 25 is considered the age of retirement and she didn’t want to outstay her welcome.
Now she’s 39 and she’s pretty much tired with life. She lost her virginity at 15 with the first man she fell in love with, a much older man, then 34-year-old Costas Pappadakis, a Greek shipping heir who was in New York with a diplomatic passport and a taste for young, impressionable models. To her, Costas was the perfect lover; he was beautiful with a body that rival Michaelangelo’s David, and he made her feel like she was the center of his universe. Despite Costas’ insistence that they kept things casual between them, Irina found herself falling hard for the man, who decided he had enough of New York, and subsequently, her, after three months spent wining, dining and bedding her.
Heartbroken Irina never could get Costas out of her mind, and distracted herself with men and sex. She went through men like most women went through a cheap pair of stockings, she was gone before the man even had the chance to come up with a flimsy excuse to kick her out of his bed in the morning. By the time she turned 25 and left the modeling world, she has had countless lovers, none lasting longer than a fortnight.
In the morning of her 39th birthday, Irina woke up in her Manhattan studio apartment and suddenly felt suffocated when she saw the stranger sleeping next to her. She got dressed quickly and boarded the subway to Brooklyn for no reason, she just needed to escape. As she walked down the neighborhood streets of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, she felt a strange attraction when she saw through the window, a dark-haired girl sitting by the register completely immersed in a book. She pushed the door open and walked into the small nail salon, where she met the quiet, shy manicurist with the dark past that would change her life forever.
Our title character, Sara Beth Blank had a peculiar life, to say the least. Her unusual last name “Blank” was from her mother’s stage name “Aurora Blank”. Sara Beth never knew her father, but she suspected that he was the reason why her mother put “Blank” as her last name instead of her real last name “Blavathnick”. She felt like it was her mother’s way of saying that she never had a real father. Not one who had the courage to raise her and love her.
Sara Beth is only twenty-three years old, but she felt much older than her age. Her mother’s health had deteriorated when she was just a baby and soon after she was too sick to take care of Sara Beth and placed her in a foster home. Despite being placed in the system when she was just a baby, Sara Beth never found a foster family that would take her in for long, and she kept going from one family to another, before she spent her teenage years in a halfway home until she turned 18.
Sara Beth had always been quiet and peculiar, and it was hard for her to fit in anywhere. After a series of odd jobs here and there, she finally found the one thing she was good at when she got a job as a manicurist in a small nail salon in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The customers like Sara Beth for some reason. They felt instantly soothed when she held their hands in her palm as she worked on their nails. They loved the calming effect that her soft voice gave them. They found it irresistible not to share the details of their daily lives with her, and she always listened without prejudice, and would flash them her smile that worked like hypnosis, they immediately felt better about their lives.
But Sara Beth had a secret, Sara Beth had a dark life and a dark road ahead of her that she couldn’t and didn’t want to share with her customers. Not with shopaholic Casey Goldstein who chose to spend her last $50 to get her nails done while smoking profusely and complaining about her evil father who had just froze her trust fund, not with geeky Evan Jones, whose nails were always brittle from her furious nail-biting and who only came into the salon because she was fascinated with Arsen, the gay tattoo artist who ran an illegal tattoo parlor in the salon after-hours, not with her co-worker Torrence Adler, who would spend all her paycheck on make up and perfume, and who keeps talking about mushrooms for hours and hours, and definitely not with Liza Hoffman, the “mother warrior” who was reluctant about getting a manicure at first but ending up coming every week just to share her frustrations with life and her estranged ex-husband.
On the day when she was at her lowest point in life, in walked ex-model Irina Zelyaeva to her nail salon and she recognized her from the copies of old Vogue magazines that she sometimes reads when she’s bored at the salon. Something about Irina intrigued Sara Beth and as she sat across the table from her and held her hand, she suddenly realized that her life was about to change in the most amazing way…
What will happen between Sara Beth and the five women?
Tune in for more on the novel. Follow me on Twitter to get the latest update.